Are you ready for a Capital Campaign?


Typically, conducting a capital campaign is reserved for larger projects that require a serious amount of time and investment. I’ve managed campaigns with a goal as little as $500,000, but they are typically $1 million or more.

You can find a bunch of questionnaires and surveys online that will help you figure out whether you’re ready or not. Better yet, find a consultant who can lead you through a fairly simple feasibility study. It will be money well spent. (Hint, hint.)

If you’re just wondering what general areas you should pay attention to, here are a few suggestions.

You have to have:

  • Demonstrated and validated need,
  • Influence and credibility in the community,
  • Project feasibility and fiscal responsibility,
  • Demonstrated ability to attract and maintain major gifts, and
  • Capacity to manage a campaign operation.

There’s one other question that, in my opinion, is a deal breaker. If you can’t answer this question with a resounding “YES!” you have no business embarking on a capital campaign.

Is your board organized to provide solid and sustained leadership to your fundraising efforts?

I know I’ve been harping on this topic for the past several weeks, but I keep running in to organizations that don’t expect their board to be fundraisers. And I can’t understand why.

Undertaking a capital campaign is a lot of work. Even for a smallish goal, it takes a lot of effort. In my experience, unless the board of directors is already actively engaged in giving (at a significant level) and getting (large gifts) a capital campaign will not succeed. This is just one more reason that you MUST build a comprehensive fundraising program that includes your board of directors.

I know I’m making this WAY too simplistic. Getting ready for and running a successful capital campaign is challenging and complex. But if you’re ready, it can also be an incredible boost to your volunteers and can significantly advance your mission.

Are you ready?

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc